Self-Care: Series Introduction
In the world where we live in, technology has evolved, mindless entertainment is prized, and work is prioritized to the point where many people do not have time to take care of themselves. Even if an individual might technically have “free time”, there is a pervasive notion in today’s society that self-care is a luxury, or an indulgence that cannot be afforded. The professional world is also becoming more demanding and stressful and it seems there is almost no room for kindness and mutual care. In addition, the physical, mental and social health of the rising generation seems to have dramatically downgraded, meanwhile stress, anxiety, and chronic fatigue are becoming normal and expected. Without a huge self-care effort, all these changes take place at the expense of our personal balance, our health and our well-being. The expression “self-care” is now omnipresent in the definitions of health and happiness. However, it often remains very poorly defined and misunderstood. So, what is it really about? What are its foundations? And why does inadequate self-care impair our well-being and our health? The purpose of this series is to answer all these questions and to help you get your life back on track. Definition of Self-Care: Despite its many definitions, well-being is often referred to as a balanced mental state linked to different factors that can be taken into account separately or jointly: health, social or economic success, pleasure, self-realization, and harmony with oneself and with others. All of these factors require continuous care to maintain them, as this maintenance effort is what we talk about when using the expression “self-care”. Many products on the market offer the false promise of providing the ultimate well-being; of bottling happiness and selling it “for just 3 easy payments of $19.95”. However, we all know that the main source of a person’s happiness lies within themselves. This means that there is no magic formula to feel good about yourself. Indeed, self-care is above all, a way of life. It is a set of factors that are intimately linked and interwoven with each other. This self-care effort includes all aspects of life. It is about the food we eat, how much work we do a day and sleep we get a night, but also about how we manage our stress, our thoughts, the relationships we have with our loved ones and the multitude of choices we make every day. However before detailing the main aspects of self-care, it must be remembered that one of the main excuses people have for ignoring self-care is that they just do not have the time. The good news is that there are many different self-care practices, and none of them are particularly difficult or require much planning. The trick is to find out what you really like and what fits your life and your values. Most psychology trends agree on six different areas of wellness which constitute the foundational pillars of this concept: physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, relational and professional self-care. Assessment of these six areas is a crucial first step towards creating better self-care practices, as is the vulnerability and bravery to be honest about current habits. In beginning the assessment process, we recommend starting with a resource such as this one to begin thinking about your own self-care and to stay tuned for the next installment in our series: The Importance of Physical Self-Care.